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Born Again


My mother comes in at the stroke of twelve,
Clad in wrapper, blouse, and hair net.
With a vial of virgin olive oil underneath her arm,
She grabs the hem of my cover cloth and flicks it over
My bare, shivering skin.

I stir, roused by the wind and her muttering a prayer.
She glides over to the window, fiddles with the drapes,
Eclipsing what was left of the night sky.
In the absolute darkness, I remember I have been here before,
Every other night, her hands replicating the warmth of her womb.

Again I stir to the sound of her loudly whispering a prayer,
Vial open in one hand, oil smeared on the other, tongue
Uttering sacred benedictions.
She lays her smeared hand on my head,
And suddenly the room becomes her belly,
Her hand an umbilical cord, and I a formless thing
Floating in watery space, forever existing in the moment.

This is the succour of my soul, to be loved by a love that loved me first.
Her love is the voice in the darkness, singing over me,
Let light be, her love is a blanket in a storm
Swaddling my limbs with warmth, her love is an impregnable
Firewall built with sacred tongues, her love is the cord
Tethering me to life.
My mother comes in every night at the stroke of twelve,
Clad in wrapper, blouse, and hair net.
With a vial of virgin olive oil underneath her arm
And a maternal burden in her heart,
She delivers me again unto the hands of Osalobua.

Nosakhare Osarenren

Nosakhare Peter Osarenren was born in Edo State Nigeria, and holds a Bachelor’s in Law from the University of Benin.

His book, ‘For Him,’ a chapbook of Christian poetry, explores themes of trust and submission. Some of his live performances include ‘Dear African,’ performed at the Rehab Lounge in Benin City, and ‘ Pots and Kettles’ performed at Nosana Studios, Edo Global Art Foundation, etc.

Nosakhare is also a co-founder of DeCreAce Art Club, a fast-growing creative hub in Nigeria where he facilitates creative writing workshops.

PJ2024 Longlist
1. Blood Ties
2. Born Again
3. Entreaty
4. Good Mothers Stay Home, Good Fathers Pay
5. Pain Is A Place
6. Postpartum Depression in Men
7. Prayers
8. Premonition
9. The Hood
10. What Came Out as a Poem

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